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Old 09-13-2005, 01:32 PM   #1
Spencer
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Default Taco needs lotsa TLC - any advice?

Hey all. I’m looking for some input and advice on getting my Taco back in fine running order before leaving the city. Taco, puppy, and I are heading back to our ranch in the Southern Rockies, far from anything, where 4WD and a dependable truck are simply a way of life.
So my aunt calls me yesterday having heard that the truck was in pieces and offered to pay for repairs - (she just sold a house and a store ). I don’t have a garage, but prefer to do many repairs myself just because I don’t trust these repair shops in the big city. Also, I don’t want to see my kind aunt get ripped off.
So I put together a list of stuff to do so I can shop for an honest mechanic to help with some of the work. If you guys don’t mind, please comment on your experiences and what part of the workload I should do myself and what work should be farmed out.

OK – here it goes.

TACOMA WRITE-UP
1995 Toyota Tacoma, extra cab, 4WD, 4” lift, 3.4 liter (5VZ-FE), twin overhead cam, auto transmission (A340E).

History: Replaced engine 3 years ago at 108,000 miles, replacement engine had 12,000 miles on it and came from a 1998 4-Runner. Miles on engine now 56,000.
Valves were noisy on the new engine from the start. Have always had plenty of power.

Recently replaced P/S pump, water pump, PCV valve, u-joints in rear split drive shaft, front left wheel bearing, and tie-rod ends. Recently passed smog with no problem.

Current condition: The front of the engine is disassembled (A/C, P/S pump, alternator, timing covers, all belts, etc. are off).

Problems, work to do:
1. Noisy valves, poor gas mileage. Noticed oil on spark plug in cylinder #1 (but that may be from turning the engine backwards – oops) – have not checked others. Considering doing a valve adjustment or removing heads entirely and having them rebuilt. Also would like a compression test on all cylinders (110 to 150psi ok if all are uniform).

2. Re-assemble front of engine (have all belts). Replace timing idler pulleys and timing cover gaskets.

3. Excessive oil in air intake, related hoses, as well as intake air meter and related sensors. Clean and treat with ‘Sea Foam’.

4. Transmission slips when in O/D. This problem has been research for quite a while by myself and 4 mechanics (one at a Toyota dealership). History showed errors relating to speed sensors. Have tried both computers and complete dash panel swap-outs. Problem only occurs in overdrive after warm-up.
Suspect:
A. wire harness (which had been spliced above transmission before I bought the truck).
or
B. O/D solenoid in transmission (when looking behind the screener in the transmission it is the odd one of the three visible).
or
C. possibly as simple as the Shift Lock Control Relay Assy. (located under the shifter console). The mechanical part of this assembly wore to a point that the solenoid will not release the shift lock. Shift Lock Control Relay Assy. currently disconnected.

5. 4WD not working. Front shaft does spin. I don’t know a lot about the front actuator or differential, but do suspect either the wiring harness or a clog in the vacuum.

6. Front end still pulling to right after new balanced tires and front-end alignment. May just be drag from old front wheel bearing on the right.

7. Brakes lines and P/S lines need to be bled and calibrated for Anti-Lock Brakes by the dealer. I’m wondering if this could be related to other issues of the transmission or the 4WD. According to the manual, the transmission, transfer case, power steering, and brakes are all connected in a way that if one looses pressure all must be bled and re-calibrated.

8. Front right wheel bearing needs to be replaced (have bearing and seal).

9. Rear brake shoes need to be replaced (have brake shoe set).

10. Muffler needs to be replaced.

11. Rear drive shaft needs to be balanced.

Thanks in advance.
Spencer
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Old 09-13-2005, 02:37 PM   #2
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Not knowing exactly what your experience level is. that is a tough question to answer.

Everything except the heads sounds like a shade tree job to me, but then again I don't know your level of expertise. Judging by the way you listed everything. I would say you could do everything except the head/valve work, which is something I would trust to a shop to do for myself.

If you do not have much experience with the front diff. then you may also want to farm that work out as well.

Sorry just noticed the last item on your list. the balancing of the driveshaft…have a shaft shop do that for you as well.
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Old 09-13-2005, 05:05 PM   #3
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Holy crap man, what the heck did you do to your truck? Drop it from a plane?

Might want to take that to a shop if you're planning on reconditioning the truck to a level where you have to depend on it daily. That's a lot of work for even the best mechanic.
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Old 09-13-2005, 11:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Taco needs lotsa TLC - any advice?

Like I said, home is in the mountains, extreme mud, extreme inclines, and allot of the time that means a running start. With a trailer full of building supplies and even when dry a second truck is needed to pull in. We get summer monsoons and as far as the winter the best time to travel is no more than 15 minutes after sunrise when the dusting of snow has melted, but quick now while the mud is still frozen. It's a beautiful place with one of the 40 acre property lines on the Apache National Forest (no neighbors) (AZ - NM border).

I put this engine in, so that is my level of experience. Also have rebuilt many euro bikes and other 2WD vehicles.

In the last 2 days I have found that 'city' mechanics either won't or are forbidden to speak with the customer. On top of that, no shop here in San Diego will get into a vehicle that is partially dismantled.
On the other hand, 'country' mechanics just want to shoot the $#!^ all day long 'cause they are glad to have someone to talk with. So I guess I'll take off the heads and have them rebuilt, put everything back together, and start farming out the specialty stuff.

I'm really interested in installing dif lockers. Should I do both or just the rear? Does anyone have suggestions on what brand?

Thank you guys VERY much for taking the time to input.
Can't wait to get home on the range!

Spencer
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Old 09-13-2005, 11:50 PM   #5
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i work at yota in SD and with that much work....slap it back together and sell it, and get another taco....it will prolly be less $$ and time to do it that way...i mean its your aunts money...weather it fixes a 10 year old truck or buys one that is 5 years old...
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Old 09-14-2005, 12:24 AM   #6
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Thanks Lavos - no offense on the city mechanic stuff. I've had these thoughts already, but kind of shy about asking to much from the family. Thanks again.
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Old 09-14-2005, 01:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spencer
Thanks Lavos - no offense on the city mechanic stuff. I've had these thoughts already, but kind of shy about asking to much from the family. Thanks again.
Spencer
i was in a similar situation with my old truck...engine ran great but had a lot of small little problems that added up to one big headache....best day turned out to be when i got in an accident in it and buckled the frame....i got to start over
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Old 09-14-2005, 01:16 AM   #8
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Maybe Aunty can just help you get a new truck? At least then it would be reliable for some time to come... You could always make payments to her... LOL
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Old 09-14-2005, 05:48 AM   #9
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Spencer, I hear you on the "good old boy" mechanics, they're usually great people and if you get the right one, he'll love the chance to try his hand at an import truck. The only thing to remember is that you're not the only one he likes to shoot the breeze with, so things can take a fair amount of time before they actually get finished...!!!

Still for all, if you are mechanically inclined enough to change out/rebuild an engine, I agree that you should be able to handle all of the engine repairs save for the head work. As for the drivetrain, you will need some help to handle the more complex work (like the balancing, as was previously mentioned) but you should be able to handle the rest.

Do you have a good service manual? Do you have the major parts you need on order yet? Can you get parts fairly quickly where you are? These are all factors when deciding to tackle such a large project.

-Rob
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Old 09-14-2005, 11:33 AM   #10
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Yes Rob I have the manuals and thanks to a some senior members on the list (can't remember who right now) I have all the links to the service manuals and wiring schematics. They are for newer tacos, but sure do help with the transmission and other more baffling stuff.

http://fsm.afraid.org/
http://65.200.1.6/FSM/Wiring_Manual/...i/017ecs5v.pdf
http://www.customtacos.com/tech/files/
http://www.customtacos.com/tech/file...parts_list.pdf

Parts are easy to get, still in San Diego for the moment & online provides best prices on more common stuff. Haven't ordered everything as of yet. But thanks to everone's input I think I'll get going on most of this stuff myself and start pricing it out for my aunt today.

Would love to trade the old gal in for a new Toyota diesel, but that won't happen right away. Out at the ranch I use bio-diesel for the generator. It's great fuel for free from the local restaurants, gives of almost 0 emissions, and is very kind to any diesel engine.

Thanks for the input! :-)
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Old 09-14-2005, 11:38 AM   #11
Spencer
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PS
My favorite online parts places are:
http://www.cherry-auto.com/
and
http://www.trademotion.com/partlocat...?siteid=214074
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